Minutes after the tragedy struck, recordings of the aftermath began streaming online. There was even cellphone footage reportedly taken inside the plane moments before takeoff. Social media expert Ben Parr told ET it's a whole new era in news reporting and investigation.
"The first images that we got from the ground -- both images and pictures taken by citizens on the ground and in fact even pictures from the rebel forces that right now people think may have been responsible," said Parr. "I am absolutely certain that the investigators for this tragedy are using social media to piece together exactly what happened and when."
While social media can be helpful in getting answers quickly, it can also be detrimental if used poorly. Orange is the New Black star Jason Biggs found this out the hard way after tweeting a joke soon after the accident, which read, "Anyone wanna buy my Malaysian Airlines frequent flier miles?"
The tweet has since been deleted and Biggs later issued an apology, saying that he was sorry that his "comments might have come off as insensitive and ill-timed."